Back to School: SJI School District students start Wednesday

By Steve Wehrly/Journal reporter

The big news at Friday Harbor Elementary School on opening day is an update of last year's news: Connie Martin starts her second year as principal.

Nobody knew quite what to expect last September when Martin took over as principal. This year, the students, their parents, the teachers and the School Board know who she is and what to expect — and nobody’s complaining.

“She’s proved herself to me,” said Brent Snow, school board president. “More importantly, she proved herself to parents and their youngsters.”

Snow also points out that Martin's advocacy for her school convinced the board to approve an additional full-time teacher to reduce class size at the 420-student grade school.

Martin is looking forward to thanking “all the parents and community members who showed me their support.”

There is something new at the school, though — the roof.

“On time and under budget,” crowed Superintendent Rick Thompson, who thanked voters for passing the levy making possible an extensive remodel of the 25 year-old building. Thompson is looking forward to thanking parents and supporters, and welcoming ten new teachers and staff, at the annual Aug. 27 faculty and staff breakfast at the high school.

That’s just two days before the high school and middle school start up this year, with just under 400 students, combined.

“I’m always excited to start a new school year,” said Fred Woods, principal of both the middle school and high school. “We’ve got some new technology learning resources financed by the levy and we’re adding advanced placement biology” to the award-winning AP program already in place.

Another school with a passel of new students is Spring Street International School, which on Sept. 4 opens a new fifth grade, welcomes three new teachers, and inaugurates a new classroom building, the first of three new buildings started at the school in the historic Nash House on Spring Street.

“The building projects are great news for the school, but I’m more excited about working with our 85 wonderful kids,” said Louis O’Prussack, now in his fifth year as head of the school.

Stillpoint School and Paideia Classical School, both starting Sept. 4, are opening on high notes of different kinds.

Jill Urbach is joining Paideia School as a teacher. Stillpoint School announced a “milestone” in its six-year history, establishment of the Sally W. Bryan scholarship fund.

Kids grouse summer is over too soon; teachers wonder whether the kids remember anything from last year; administrators try to anticipate disruptions; parents worry their children are growing up too fast. But everybody is excited in one way or another by the prospects and problems of the new school year.


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